FROM FR. JOE
THE RESURRECTION ACCOUNTS
If you ask a group of ten people who all witnessed a really big event you will probably end up with ten different accounts of what happened. Some of the accounts might match up, but it is highly unlikely that everyone will see the same details and recount it all the exact same way, even though they all witnessed the same event. People simply saw different things at different angles and then reported them that way.
The various accounts of Christ’s Resurrection are a great example of this. Saints Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John all witnessed the Crucifixion and Resurrection. Certain details overlap all four accounts, like that it happened on a Sunday and that Mary Magdalene was the first to see that the tomb was empty and then ran to tell others. Each one caught certain details that the others either missed or did not think were as important and so did not include them. As a result, we have four unique accounts of the Resurrection. These four perspectives help us to better understand what happened.
Matthew tells his account in chapter 28. He relates that as Mary Magdalene and another Mary came to the tomb, and earthquake happens as angels roll the stone back and scare the Roman guards away. The angels tell the women that Jesus is risen; as they run to tell the others they meet Jesus on the way. Meanwhile, the Jewish high priests pay off the guards to tell the story that the disciples stole the body. The Apostles finally meet Jesus in Galilee and are given the Great Commission to go out and baptize.
Mark, in chapter 16, first gives a simple Resurrection account and then retells it with much more detail. He even makes reference to a meeting on a country road (like Luke’s road to Emmaus) and says Jesus upbraided the Eleven for not believing that He has risen.
Luke starts out in chapter 24 pretty simple with the Sunday morning story. Then he moves on to the Road to Emmaus, which is the Gospel passage for Sunday. Jesus appears again as the two from the road are telling the others. Luke ends with an account of the Ascension.
John gives a wide variety of information. In chapter 20 he says Mary Magdalene goes alone to the tomb. Finding it empty, she runs to the others and Peter and John race back to the tomb. As Mary is weeping, she finally sees Jesus. Jesus appears to the others that evening, but Thomas is absent. Then we hear the “doubting Thomas” story. Chapter 21 gives us the story of the appearance by the Sea of Galilee. Jesus also asks Peter, “Do you love me?” and says, “Feed my sheep.”